Engineering in Health and Disease

Water-Based ‘Engine’ Propels Tumor Cells

Professors Konstantopoulos and Sun have discovered a new mechanism that explains how cancer cells spread.

Our efforts are directed primarily at understanding the interplay of physical and biochemical cues in the regulation of tumor formation, growth and migration. Sharon Gerecht studies the synergistic roles of hypoxia and the extracellular microenvironment in the formation of blood vessels during differentiation, regeneration and tumor growth and metastasis. Denis Wirtz identifies the physical underpinnings of cell and tissue functions in health and disease. Konstantinos Konstantopoulos studies how cells sense and respond to physical cues, such as confinement and fluid shear, pertinent to cancer metastasis. Rong Li studies how cells divide, move, age and evolve. Honggang Cui is building mimetic peptide platforms to simulate the tumor microenvironment and the extracellular matrix. Michael Betenbaugh is developing analytical tools to characterize the changes in metabolic pathways that occur during cancer transformations as a way of identifying novel treatments for the disease.

Click the tabs to read more about our faculty’s research in this area.

Michael Betenbaugh
Michael Betenbaugh is developing analytical tools to characterize the changes in metabolic pathways that occur during cancer transformations as a way of identifying novel treatments for the disease.
Honggang Cui
Honggang Cui is utilizing anticancer drugs as molecular building units to create functional nanomaterials that could potentially shift the paradigm of current cancer chemotherapy.
Sharon Gerecht

Sharon Gerecht studies the synergistic roles of hypoxia and the extracellular microenvironment in the formation of blood vessels during differentiation and regeneration near and inside tumors.

David Gracias

The David Gracias Laboratory is trying to implement the “swallow the surgeon” concept and has created tiny dust-sized surgical tools and used them for drug delivery and biopsy applications. His laboratory is also interested in 3D printing as it relates to patient-specific and shape change implants.

Konstantinos Konstantopoulos

Konstantinos Konstantopoulos integrates microtechnology with molecular cell biology techniques to investigate the processes of tumor formation and metastasis.
Rong Li
The Rong Li Lab strives to understand the fundamental laws governing the behavior and interactions of cellular systems. Current work focuses on questions pertaining to the molecular and physical basis of self-organization during morphogenesis, and the evolutionary dynamics of cell division pathways.
Marc Ostermeier
Marc Ostermeier seeks insight into the principles of natural evolution and applies laboratory evolution and synthetic biology principles to engineer proteins for biomedical and biotechnological applications.

By elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying cell signaling and phenotypic output, the Jamie Spangler Lab devises strategies to engineer natural and synthetic proteins with therapeutically advantageous properties. We are particularly interested in the discovery and design of antibody-based molecules that recruit novel mechanisms to treat immune diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders.

Denis Wirtz
Denis Wirtz identifies the physical factors that regulate the transition and 3D migration of cancer cells from a primary tumor site into the surrounding stromal matrix.

 

 

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